Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LOCAL HEROES: 17 YEAR OLD COLUMNIST FIRED FOR TELLING THE TRUTH

The following was written by a 17-year-old columnist for the Naperville Sun. Shortly after it appeared, Sagha was fired as a columnist.

MOHAMMA SAGHA, NAPERVILLE SUN, IL - My generation is a unique one, raised amid fears of terrorism and the solidarity of nationalism, ordered to think by media outlets, and refused basic First Amendment rights under the constitution which have been violated by the ironically named Patriot Act. The most important issue facing the future generation, however, is the abnormal patriotism and undue feeling of superiority that we Americans have both internationally and nationally.

The concept of patriotism itself was attacked on September 11th. Sitting in my sixth grade science class, I listened in horror as the school's principal explained the attack on the twin towers. But my horrors would not stop there; as a nation we saw the individuals most responsible for the safety of American citizens hailed as heroes. The President's approval rating rose to 70% and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani became a patriotic model.

It is baffling that instead of being punished, Bush and Giuliani were rewarded. At this critical point Bush had the opportunity to defend the liberty of Americans, pursue those responsible for the attacks and exemplify the founding principles of this nation by promoting power through peace and diplomacy as a means of solving conflicts. Now, though, those who want the troops home are "unpatriotic," the President continues his genocide in Iraq, and our freedoms at home are threatened more than ever.

The 9/11 generation is being raised somewhat similarly to how the youth of the red scare were raised which included confusion, misinformation, fear, nationalism, and undue support of our elite rulers. But we have traitors on our hands. We have war hawks, instigators, oppressors and conquering emperors who have brought nothing but death and anguish to the Iraqis. My generation has seen nothing but an almost continuous "war on terror" which seeks to destroy an ideological backlash, and not a concrete enemy.

Neo Conservatives put up a facade of Americanism; they wore pins of the American flag on their suits, put bumper stickers of the American flag on their cars and forced us to believe we had to spread "freedom." However, a true patriot is an intelligent citizen - someone who can investigate the truth and immediately recognize the facts, someone who instead of falsely taking advantage of national pride as a propaganda tool, fights for the liberty and freedom of America - fights to keep us out of entangling alliances and reckless wars.

These patriots, especially among the youth, are hard to find. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Indeed, we have lost both and gained nothing. Fear has been used by all brutal regimes as a way of control. Whether it is a fear that we will be attacked by a faceless enemy, or a fear that we will be branded as unpatriotic, we are always under pressure to accept what our leaders tell us. But blowing a lot of steam won't solve anything either; we have democratically controlled congress to thank for that which refuses to challenge the president and instead expands the unconstitutional powers of the Presidency in order to spy on (everything after this was cut off due to going over the word limit and a poor editing job) American citizens.

It is time to speak up. Let us stop being fearful and start defending our wealth, liberty and freedom-all of them are risk and it is incumbent upon us, as a generation, to fight for our freedom.

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